I have made it no secret that I have a love affair with bread. A good starchy slab beats any other food in my book. My wife is a soup nut. Especially during these cold winter months, she craves soup often and is always presenting me with ideas she likes for a weeknight soup. I must admit that one of my biggest food issues is dealing with textures. As most soups are, I have trouble with a lot of soft or mushy foods so soup on a regular basis can wear me out. The best way to combat this is to pair any creamy soups with a good piece of hard crust, dense bread. And that is what I have today.
This bread is perfect for a soup. The outside is dark brown and crunchy and the inside is soft, chewy, and dense. The best part of this bread is the fact that it is just about as easy as can be. Just mix the ingredients, let it rise, bake and enjoy. No busy kneading, no long drawn out shaping processes, and complicated seasonings. The only down side to this bread is that you have to plan to make it in advance as it rises over night.
The cut ups for this bread are not numerous. The biggest one is that instead of using regular yeast, I simply just use one packet of “rapid-rise” yeast. It is a little more than the recipe calls for, but it gets the job done. The key to this loaf is that when you mix the ingredients the night before, just get everything mixed together and then leave it alone. There will likely be spots of dry flour but you need not fear, they will be hydrated by the time you get up the next morning. Also, listen to the bread when you take it out of the oven, yes listen. As the loaf cools and contracts you can hear the crust popping, snapping, and popping just like a famous breakfast cereal.
Crusty No-Knead Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 packet rapid-rise yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix just to combine. There may be dry pockets but they will hydrate. Let rise overnight (12-18 hours)
- Preheat the oven to 450. When preheated, place a dutch oven in the oven and let heat for 30 minutes.
- On a heavily floured surface, form the dough into a loose loaf.
- Place the loaf into the heated dutch oven and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an additional 10 minutes until the top has reached a dark brown color.
- Remove from the oven and place the loaf on a cooling rack and take a listen. Serve with soup, olive oil for dipping, or make the loaf into a delicious garlic bread.